We had a youth group that was comprised of mostly one high school, with a few students from other schools. No matter how hard we tried to help those from other schools feel welcome, I don’t think they ever really did feel as though they were part of the group. Part of that is because they didn’t know the other students very well. Part of it was because they didn’t share the same school experience.
All I know is that of all the challenges I experienced as a youth leader, realizing that some youth did not feel as if they were a part of the group frustrated me the most.
My children go to a youth group where there are probably ten schools represented. There is no super majority from any school. There are Christian schools, charter schools and public schools represented. While this diversity brings its own challenges, it seems to me that it’s much easier to feel accepted and involved in this diverse youth group.
I wonder if other youth leaders have experienced this. Is your youth group becoming more diverse in the schools represented? Is this helpful?
And for those who have youth groups comprised of mostly one or two schools, have you experienced the challenge of including students from other schools?
High school and middle school years are difficult enough without also feeling unconnected to a youth group. Help me out here. Any ideas or strategic actions that can break down these school barriers?